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Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 Jan;36(1):12-5. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2011.198. Epub 2011 Oct 18.

Preventing and treating childhood obesity: time to target fathers.

Author information

  • 1Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia. emily.e.freeman@gmail.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the long-term effects of having one overweight or obese parent on child weight status and determine whether these effects vary according to parent sex.

DESIGN:

Prospective study: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC).

SUBJECTS:

Two-parent families (N=3285) from the LSAC were included if height and weight data were available for both parents and their child at the 2004 and 2008 time points.

MEASUREMENTS:

Child weight status category (healthy, overweight, obese) in 2008 when the child was aged 8-9 years. Regression modelling was used to investigate how self-reported parent weight status in 2004 influenced measured child weight status 4 years later.

RESULTS:

Parent body mass index (BMI) was significantly correlated with child BMI, but there was no evidence of sex-specific associations between parent and child BMI correlations. The results from the regression analysis showed that having an overweight or obese father, but a healthy weight mother, significantly increased the odds of child obesity (odds ratio: 4.18, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.01-17.33 and odds ratio: 14.88, 95% CI: 2.61-84.77, respectively), but the reverse scenario (overweight or obese mother with a healthy weight father) was not a significant predictor of child overweight or obesity (odds ratio: 2.52, 95% CI: 0.38-16.71 and odds ratio: 2.56, 95% CI: 0.31-21.26, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS:

Children with overweight or obese fathers are at a higher risk of becoming obese. This suggests that interventions are urgently required to test the efficacy of treating overweight fathers as a key strategy for childhood obesity prevention and/or treatment.

PMID:
22005717
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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